Hello everyone! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing a product review on Yellow Jacket’s 69336 AccuProbe UV Refrigerant Leak Detector. This unit is a heated diode detector but as with Yellow Jacket’s reputation this isn’t your standard heated diode. The sensor is a patented solid electrolyte that reduces heat and gives the sensor significantly longer life than a standard diode.
But before I get any further into the review I always like to spend a bit of time going over the company behind the product. Now, I am sure most of you know the name Yellow Jacket already. Well, I hope that you do. Otherwise you need to take a good hard look at what kind of tools you’re using. Yellow Jacket has been around for sixty years and started out with one goal: “To become the standard by which all HVAC hoses were measured.” They have not only done that but have exceeded exceptions wildly having expanded to every facet of HVAC tools that you could possibly think of. They are now a worldwide distributor but have still kept their operations and manufacturing here in the United States. That’s a rare find nowadays. When you hear Yellow Jacket you hear quality.
As I said in the introduction the YellowJacket AccuProbe 69336 is a heated diode detector. The heated diode model is one of the original types of detectors and have been around for decades. Typically, I like to lean further towards the Infrared units but I have to say folks that the 69336 has a whole lot going for it.
The heated sensor on this unit is rated to last three-hundred hours of service life with minimal maintenance required. If you compare this to some of the other diode detectors on the market this is a remarkable sensor life. However, some of the Infrared models out there like the INFICON’s D-Tek are rated at one-thousand hours, so while three-hundred sounds good at first it is not the best on the market today. (One of the reasons I prefer Infrareds!)
The Yellow Jacket AccuProbe 69336 works great with all common refrigerants on the market today. You’ll be able to find CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and even some Hydrocarbon blends. This covers some of the most popular refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. You’ll even be able to detect the 1234YF HFO refrigerant found in newer car models today.
Like most of the more expensive detectors on the market today the AccuProbe has to warm up for about twenty to thirty seconds before it auto-calibrates and is ready to go. Some guys see this as a con but I’m going to leave it here in the summary instead of taking points away.
The probe on this Yellow Jacket unit extends to seventeen inches. For those of you who aren’t aware that is an extremely long probe. Most detectors on the market today are at fourteen inches with a few higher end models at fifteen inches. I have never seen a probe at seventeen inches. This extra length will allow you to get into this harder to reach spaces.
The detector has low, normal, and high settings. The low settings on this unit are amazing going as low as 0.06 ounces per year leak detection. It also comes with a mute button in case you are working in a quiet area. If a leak is detected the LED lights will alert you with rapid flashes of light. While scanning the probe will automatically recalibrate itself to the ambient environment ensuring an accurate and concentrated reading.
The 69336 comes in at just under eighteen ounces for a light weight carry. I did not see anything about this unit coming with a durable plastic case like other high end detectors. While this isn’t a big deal it is a convenient way to store your tool and to prevent damage from occurring. I have taken points away from durability because of this.
The big selling point on this unit, at least for me, was how sensitive the sniffer is on this. Most detectors that I have reviewed are between a 0.10 and 0.15 for their minimum leak detection. The Yellow Jacket AccuProbe 69336 can detect leaks as small as 0.06 ounces per year. That is very impressive!
On top of the sensitivity you get an digital SmartAlarm LED display. What is that? Well folks it’s a feature that actually tells you the size of a leak. This feature will measure, register, and then display the leak size and provide you with a number based off of a scale from one to nine. A one to three measurement is less than 0.10 ounces per year. A four to six measurement is 0.10 to 0.50 ounces per year and a seven to nine is larger leak at more than 0.50 ounces per year. I have to say that is one hell of a selling point that can save you the time of diagnosing and also give you reassurance on rather or not your should replace, repair, or leave it alone.
The AccuProbe comes with a built in ultra-violet LED light system that works with 395-415nm leak tracing dyes. So, if you find that you just can’t find that leak and the soap/bubbles didn’t work then you can try the ultra-violet dye and use your detector as your black light. Honestly, I don’t know if a lot of guys use this but it is a nice feature to have.
This product, like other Yellow Jacket products, is proudly made here in the United States of America. It’s sad that I have to mention this but it is just the way of the world today where everything is outsourced. It’s good to find a company that actually cares about American workers and American quality.
- Price – Everyone knows the Yellow Jacket name. Everyone knows that with that name comes a quality product. Because everyone knows that, and they know it too, Yellow Jacket can charge a premium price for their product. Before you get sticker shocked I want to you to realize that you are paying for a top quality product. If you find the price is just too much you may end up looking at detectors in the one-hundred dollar range such as the INFICON Tek-Mate.
- Warranty – The only reason I am including Yellow Jacket’s warranty in the con section is really due to the price. Sure, you get a two year warranty on the unit but if you’re going to be paying this much for a detector shouldn’t you get an extended warranty as well? To be fair here I should note that most other detectors like INFICON and FieldPiece only offer a one year warranty.
- Batteries – Depending on who you are this last Con may bug the hell out of you or you may be just fine with it. I fall into the first category. The Yellow Jacket AccuProbe comes with four double A batteries. Yes, that’s right. There is no rechargeable Ion battery on this unit. You will need to change the batteries on this product about every four to five hours of continuous use. So if you have a busy couple of days you may end up swapping batteries out twice a week.
Overall, I would say the Yellow Jacket is a buy only if you are a full time HVAC technican or auto-mechanic. I would definitely not advise purchasing this unit if you are dabbling in the field, a do-it-yourselfer, or the ever feared homeowner.
However, if you are a tradesmen looking to get yourself a new detector then I would say that the Yellow Jacket is a quality detector and will serve you well. I still lean towards Infrared over Heated Diode, but that’s just my two cents.
On Amazon.com we can see that there are over twenty-five customer reviews on the 69336 and nearly everyone of them are four to five stars. The average rating on the unit is four out of five stars, or an eighty percent rating. The only two one star reviews were from a defective detector out of the box, which Yellow Jacket will cover, and a tech not knowing how to use a detector.
This is a solid product. If you are interested in purchasing the Yellow Jacket AccuProbe 69336 Detector then I would recommend you to buy it on Amazon.com.